BARNAUL, October 18 (Itar-Tass) —— Farmers of the Altai Territory gathered a rich harvest of buckwheat, Chairman of the Regional Main Agriculture Department Alexander Chebotayev told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
Up to date, the territory harvested 364,000 tonnes of buckwheat, which is 83,000 tonnes more than in 2010, he said.
Almost half of all-Russia areas under buckwheat seedlings accounts for the Altai territory, the official reaffirmed.
Proceeding from latest information, Russia’s overall harvest of buckwheat is at about 700,000-750,000 tonnes, Chebotayev said.
In 2010, the harvest was 50 percent smaller, which triggered an abnormal hike of prices for buckwheat, the territory's chief agriculture specialist said.
“There will be no speculative demand for buckwheat this year. Presently, farmers’ average price of the crop amounts to 18,000 roubles per tonne [USD 1 = RUB 30.97],” Chebotayev said.
The Altai Territory is situated in the south-eastern part of Western Siberia and is part of the West Siberia economic district along with the Kemerovo, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Tomsk, and Tyumen regions and the Altai Republic.
The territory is favourably located close to major sources of raw materials, has a well-developed infrastructure, especially in the area of heavy industry, and an abundance of natural resources. It is a major industrial and agricultural region of the country.
As in the rest of Russia, the economic restructuring of the 1990s led to a marked economic decline in the Altai Territory, particularly in industry and agriculture. However, there is now reason to believe that the territory's economy is stabilizing.
Its present economic prospects are good due to the presence of abundant local raw materials, high scientific potential, leading technologies, skilled personnel, and a low-cost labour force. The sales market extends far beyond the borders of the West Siberia economic district. The territory's administration is interested in foreign investments and is creating the necessary conditions for setting up joint ventures.
The Altai Territory is one of Russia’s most important agricultural regions. Development of the territory's lands began in the second half of the 18th century; and peasants from other Russian regions began resettling here in 1861. By 1917, the territory's rural population had reached 1.998 million people and the total area under cultivation was 2.506 million hectares.
Today, farmland covers an area of 11 million hectares, of which 6.922 million hectares, or nearly 41 percent of the total area of the territory, is cropland. The main crops are hard varieties of spring wheat, buckwheat, millet, peas, barley, oats, and potatoes and other vegetables. This is this only region of Siberia where sunflowers, soybeans, sugar beets, and certain kinds of fruit grow.